October 3, 2022
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you, senator. And I really want to thank the deliveristas and their organizing and really my team that’s here. Sue Donoghue, commissioner of Parks; Ydanis Rodriguez, commissioner of DOT; Manuel Castro, commissioner of Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; and Commissioner Mayuga, commissioner of DCWP. It was the combined effort of all of the agencies involved and the workers to actually materialize and make this happen.
And we cannot say thank you enough to the senator. Sometimes when you’re dealing with these large ticket items on the federal level, you have to keep your eyes on what is happening right here in the City of New York. And having the lead of the Senate to, number one, look after those yellow cab drivers who felt as though they hit a bend in the road that they thought was the end of the road, but we made the turn and we were able to really reshape those medallion costs, and it is saving jobs and saving lives. And just as we did it for those drivers, we’re doing it for the everyday workers who are here. And we just really want to take our hats off.
Sometimes we take it for granted when we get our Uber Eats, when we get our food delivered to us, that the people who is delivering that food is also attempting to have food delivered to their homes as well as they provide for their families. I saw it firsthand during COVID. They did not shelter in place. They could not do their jobs remotely. They were on the ground delivering food to you when you were calling so you could provide for your families, and so we owe them a debt of gratitude as being essential workers. Essential workers need the essential tools to do their jobs, and that’s why we are here today.
We’re talking about 65,000 workers, who on our streets every day making it happen, using their equipment, their forms of transportation, charging their batteries, making sure you have the bike lanes, all the things they need to provide their jobs just as you and I need to provide our job. And these are essential services, we saw that, and we’re going to continue to make sure they have the infrastructure to carry out what they need to perform their duties. These vacant newsstands were perfect examples of how to properly use the infrastructure so that they can charge their batteries, they could take a break, they could get out of the inclement weather, they can connect to the resources of the city. We’re not only going to use these infrastructures so that they can have a place to rest, but we’re going to have resources there to let them know about some of the resources that are available to them as they continue to move up in our economy and in our city.
We are going to also have ways of motivating and promoting the use of protected equipment that they can use as they’re moving around this city. And, senator, you are right — the rise of delivery apps. Who would’ve thought — go back five years, you did not see this level of delivery apps that are taking place. The rise of the delivery apps is causing us to rise to the occasion and give them an opportunity to provide their job in the correct way. We’re going to modernize these structures. I walk past here and told my team, “This is a blight.” How do we turn the blight into a tool that can be used to provide a job? The newsstand business has evolved and changed and we knew this is the best way to do it. And the hubs would be designed with input from the deliveristas and communities. So this is a real partnership where they will both come together and design the hubs and what they’re going to look like so that everyone can feel like they are part of this. This is a great opportunity of utilizing our dollars to address the problem firsthand.
And so, I want to thank you, senator. And I want to also acknowledge that you are GSDS. Get-stuffs-done-senator. (Laughter.)
(U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and Ligia Guallpa speak.)
Question: Can you talk a little bit more about how many hubs you’re hoping to create and how much you can really do with $1 million?
Mayor Adams: So always a start, and then we will evolve to more… Sue, you have the exact correct…
Commissioner Sue Donoghue, Department of Parks and Recreation: Absolutely. Yes. Thank you for that question. We have a number of vacant former newsstands like this across the city, and we’re going to be analyzing each of those and seeing how we can move forward. And it will go through our usual process, which we do with concessions. We’ll take it before the FCRC, go through our regular negotiation process. But we had Parks along with City Health, always looked to see how we can revitalize spaces that are in our parks or adjacent to our parks. And we see this as a great use of these empty spaces.
Question: What about (inaudible) but in former outdoor dining structures on the street? And also, once the funding is in place, how long will it take for them to be up and running?
Mayor Adams: Again, as we look at our street furniture, our street structures, our street former newsstands, we want to look at all of these structures and how do we use them appropriately. And so this is a start. This is the beginning of reexamining our street furniture and our street design so that we can use the infrastructure in the right way. You know how long it’s going to take, Sue?
Commissioner Donoghue: We’ll go through the city process with the FCRC, our normal negotiation process. It will take at least a few months because we’ll be seeking a sole source agreement to move these forward. So it’ll take at least a few months.
Question: Yeah. Mr. Mayor, given that they’re going to be charging their batteries will the Fire Department be involved in any sort of regulation (inaudible) issues with these batteries (inaudible) catching fire and exploding?
Mayor Adams: Always, with any structures we do we’re going to make sure Parks, because Parks is in charge of these structures. We’re going to make sure DOB, that we meet the standards. We’re going to make sure FDNY, we meet the standards. So we are going to make sure that this is going to be a safe place for the deliveristas as they do their job.
Question: Can you (inaudible) what kind of charging stations are there now? What’s available (inaudible)?
Mayor Adams: Great questions. It was amazing, the relationship between some of the restaurants that wanted the deliveristas to deliver their food and allowing them access just some of the basic things they need like delivering, like charging their batteries, and other things. It just was not in place. They did the best they could, and now we want to formalize that they have a location where they can actually carry it out. This industry just expanded beyond our imagination, as I stated five years ago of… Did we know what a deliverista actually was? Did we know about these food apps? I think that COVID’s… Was. Did we know about these food apps? I think that COVID sort of expedited how much people were using these apps. And so this is a new industry we have to pivot, shift, and evolve based on the growth of the city. And that’s what we’re doing.
Question: Thank you. Mr. Mayor, we’ll actually first to follow up to the commissioner, kind of to piggyback off a Dana question. Is there a ballpark estimate for roughly how many hubs are going to be created with that million dollars? And then secondly, during the pandemic, an issue that emerged — bathroom access for delivery workers. And I’m wondering, are any of these structures going to have bathrooms?
Mayor Adams: First, let me do the first part that you ask. Once we get the exact numbers, we’ll let you know. We don’t want to guess. We’re going to let you know. We know we have a million dollars. We will see how much that takes us based on the build out. And once we know the exact number that it would take, we’ll let you know. And then if this is something we want to include in the budget next year, the first million came from the senator, and want to include this in the budget to keep expanding? We’re going to do so. We’re going to see the usage, how popular it is, how much people enjoy it. And we will evolve as needed. January 1st, 2022, restaurants were required to allow the deliveries to still utilize their restrooms and so they’re not. There won’t be restrooms inside these structures but they now could utilize the restaurants, the restrooms in restaurants.
Question: Who is going to be staffing these centers? Is it going to meet the DCWP workers, Parks department workers?
Commissioner Donoghue: Yeah, we don’t envision that there’ll be staffing. There’ll be maintained. It’s going to be charging hubs, it’s going to be locations for gathering. We don’t imagine that they’ll be staffed but it’ll be gathering places for the deliveristas.
Mayor Adams: Okay…
Question: Mayor, what’s your takeout order?
Mayor Adams: I have my favorite Slutty Vegan food. (Laughter.) I’m normally like cooking myself as you know or go out to eat. So we’re going to do some off-topics. So we want to spare you the off-topic. You know that. This is rougher than a pothole. (Laughter.) Thank you.
Question: So over the weekend myself and some colleagues interviewed some migrants that were being taken in vans down to Florida to work on hurricane relief and clean up efforts. Now, (inaudible) U.S. government to work legally. And obviously from my understanding, worker protections wouldn’t apply with these jobs. What do you think of that these people are going down Florida (inaudible) working without these protections and also what the status of your negotiations with White House representatives with expediting for some information like this?
Mayor Adams: Expedited? I didn’t get their last part. You…
Question: (Inaudible) were trying to get worker permits faster of migrants.
Mayor Adams: Okay. I’m not aware of the van conversation. The last I knew the Florida governor stated that they didn’t need anyone and they were sending people out of Florida or sending people out of other locales and so I’m not aware of that and we’ll look into it. My understanding, I know we are not doing anything as a city to send people via vans to Florida and so I’m not aware of it at all.
Question: Is it concerning to you that if they’re working down there, there won’t be any protections?
Mayor Adams: I always want workers to have workers protection. We sent down a team to Florida to assist our fellow Americans and I’m hoping that whomever is there helping is doing it with the proper workers protection that’s needed.
Question: I wonder if you have any words for Trenton. There’s a bill in Trenton that will stop the sharing of DVM information with states that have speed cameras, red-light cameras. I know you’re a big believer in speed cameras. What would be your words to Trenton and the lawmaker behind that bill?
Mayor Adams: Slow it down, like your driving should be slowed down. I spoke with the governor and we had a brief conversation. I’m going to sit down and speak with him about it. I mean why would you have a bill like that? Speed cameras save lives, what we are trying to do around congestion pricing and other things. Sharing of information is important. I don’t know why would someone create a bill like that? It makes no sense to me.
Question: Thank you, mayor. On 3-K, I know there’s been a bit of a back and forth with the chancellor, some critics who believe that you may be moving away from a universal approach on 3-K. Can you commit that the previous trajectory will be followed to get to this universal approach on 3-K?
Mayor Adams: No. No. We’re not going to make any commitments other than we are going to continue to move towards having a universal pre-K. Here’s the problem. What my analysis found in the first few months, we found that the number of seats that were allocated were not actually being filled. And so what I told the chancellor and his team, I need for us to really wrap our hands around to make sure we are actually placing children in seats. Not just counting seats. We need to be counting are seats being filled. Once we get that complete analysis, we are going to ensure that we get as many parents as possible in 3-K in pre-K. It’s a great concept. It is going to assist us in getting our children early to receive the education they need. But it has to be done right. We can’t just do things just to do them. It must be done right. These are taxpayers dollars and I want to make sure that we are spending these dollars accordingly.
Mayor Adams: After our analysis, I’ll be able to answer.
Question: Mr. Mayor, regarding the asylum seekers, what is the status regarding the (inaudible) and what is status negotiation with (inaudible)?
Mayor Adams: The emergency? When you say the status of (inaudible) what you mean?
Question: Have you identified any other locations?
Mayor Adams: The team is constantly pivoting, shifting, finding the locations of… to make sure that those who come in we can do the proper analysis, two to three days and then make the determination on what type of shelter or what type of assistance they need. Some people that are here actually want to go to other locations. And so by having as many relief centers as possible based on our influx, we’ll be able to make those determinations. Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom and her team is doing a great job in analyzing and as they see the need to open new spaces, we’ll do so. You know what we’re doing over at Orchard Beach? We’re going to do the right analysis and determine if we’re going to need more because of that.
Last week, I think two days in a row we had anywhere from six to eight buses. Those are large numbers and so we’re going to continue to expand as the expansion is needed. But this is a perfect time to really state that. I don’t know if you have really picked up what’s happening. The far right is doing the wrong thing. The far left is doing nothing. I mean the silence — I don’t believe the silence that I’m hearing. These are people in need of services and I am not hearing from the two ends of the spectrum. Far right is doing what’s wrong. Far left is doing nothing at all. It is time for us to address this in a unified way and that’s what we are doing, this administration is doing and we should not be doing it alone.
Question: What’s your reaction to the problem and getting anything from the asylum seekers? Several from these hotels who say they don’t have enough food in the system, especially for their babies and toddlers. Children who are not old enough to eat sandwiches and the food they serve in these hotels. Some of them are telling us they’re very desperate. They have no means to support themselves because they are not getting any public assistance. We know it’s important to you to run a humane city. (Inaudible) press statements in response to our reporting and not really reflected concern about this or acknowledge about it. So I am going to ask you personally, what do you plan to do about this urgent problem?
Mayor Adams: First we have not heard those reports. We are fulfilling every standard in the area of making sure that people are fed. They are making sure particularly our children are receiving the nutrition that they deserve. And so we have not heard those reports and if there are specific areas that are not fulfilling their responsibilities, we need to know about it because we are going to get in there and make sure it’s done. I am not aware of that.
Question: (Inaudible) information to the Department of Social Services last week with specifics. So are you saying you’re not aware of them now after we sent the information (inaudible) or saying you haven’t heard?
Mayor Adams: Well if you send specific information to… Okay, and then I would speak with them and find out exactly what we are doing about it. I don’t want us to underestimate the unprecedented influx. To get 400 people come to our shelter system or come here from outside the city needing shelter back to back days. That flow is beyond our imagination as a city. And what the agencies involved have been doing is actually while dealing with the crisis, managing the crisis, making sure that we are giving people the dignity they deserve. If you gave the team some specific issues, I’m going to speak with them this afternoon and find out what is our response because we want you to point out if there are gaps or cracks in the system so we can correct them. That’s the role. Your role is to bring it to my attention. My role is to make sure that it’s corrected.
Question: Good morning, Mayor. What is the city (inaudible) for the safety putting migrants in the (inaudible) and also the residents of the Bronx and places like that, the residents of the area are concerned with their safety. What’s the city doing about this?
Mayor Adams: What was the first part of your first question?
Question: Oh yes. What is the city doing about the safety on the street for the migrants? Also, what about the residents of the Bronx? What about the safety and security for them?
Mayor Adams: Same safety. We don’t do any screening other than finding out the needs of people and make sure that we properly give them the resources that they need and we’re going to provide the public safety. That’s my responsibility. My responsibility, through the police commissioner and Police Department and all of our law enforcement entities, is to make sure that the communities where we have any shelter, migrants or not, that is safe and we are going to continue to do that.
Question: Thank you, mayor. Your office released the salary of Tim Pearson this past week and I know we’ve talked about this before, the original story, but how does it not look like to New Yorkers that you’re using your official position to benefit a friend here by creating some loopholes and paying him handsomely?
Mayor Adams: Well, I’m not sure if you recall that the same position that Tim is doing is the position that Chief Monahan is doing. Are you aware of that? Okay. Look that up. Same thing. Same thing. The skill set of a former executive law enforcement officer during these unprecedented times of navigating all of these pieces is important. I thought Bill de Blasio was smart for bringing in Monahan during that time and I believe I’m smart for bringing in Tim Pearson to do the same thing and so it’s not using my position as the mayor to help anyone. It’s to help New Yorkers, putting together a team that’s going to help New Yorkers during these multiple crises at one time. I know Tim’s capabilities, Tim Pearson’s capabilities, and just as Mayor de Blasio understood the capabilities of Chief Monahan, I understand the capabilities of Tim Pearson.
Question: Mr. Mayor, what is the status of the negotiations with the cruise lines and also what are your concerns with Orchard Beach seeing there has been flooding up there given the recent rain?
Mayor Adams: When we get in agreement with anyone dealing with all of these issues around the migrant issues, we’re going to make it formal. We’re in conversations. We are going to continue to look at every opportunity to resolve this humanitarian crisis that human beings have created. We’re not at a place to make any announcements but when we are, we’re going to make sure that we give a formal announcement before we do anything and that’s where the negotiation is at this time.
Question: What’s your views regarding the flooding?
Mayor Adams: I’m sorry?
Question: Regarding the flooding in Orchard Beach, there has been flooding up there given the recent rain.
Mayor Adams: Yes, the puddling that took place, the team went up there, Commissioner Iscol went up there. He did a real analysis of what we have to do because we want to get it right and we are not going to be afraid to try different things to solve these unprecedented problems that we’re facing in the city. And he went up, he did an analysis of the puddling to see what needs to be done, how we must adjust. One of the most important terms is pivot and shift and we are going to pivot and shift to solve these problems. There’s not a one size fits all on problems that we’ve never faced before. You have to be bold enough to try. And I keep saying over and over again, I’m the man in the arena so I’m going to keep trying.
Question: (Inaudible) there or would you (inaudible) or change…
Mayor Adams: That would be nice. There’s others that might give you a nod and tell them make it hard.
Question: So would you reduce the…
Mayor Adams: I’m sorry?
Question: Would you reduce the amount of people in that location necessarily if that’s going to be a chronic issue?
Mayor Adams: We made it clear that we will always ensure safety. Safety is paramount. That’s important and we’re going to continue to shift and pivot. We’re not at the place of saying we’re going to reduce or not reduce. We’re going to make sure people are safe. We’re going to make sure we provide the services and, if need be, we’ll pivot and shift as needed and we’re not at that place right now.
Question: How would you describe Tim’s responsibilities, his brief, and why did it make sense to give him the second highest salary at EDC even as he was working at Resort Worlds?
Mayor Adams: No, as I stated, when Jeff asked, we did the same thing and followed the same model that the former mayor followed. Same thing. Followed the same model. I thought Bill de Blasio was brilliant for creating and having that position and I think it was the right thing to do. Same thing, same model that Bill de Blasio did, former mayor. Chris.
Question: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. We reported today that Deputy Mayor Phil Banks has an NYPD security detail. This is rather unusual for someone in that municipal government position. Why does he have a security detail?
Mayor Adams: He doesn’t have a security detail. Phil doesn’t need security. I think that if you look at the uniqueness of a deputy mayor of public safety and how we created that position, Phil is out late at night responding to scenes, subways, 1, 2, 3 a.m. in the morning, doing something that other deputy mayors don’t do.
The role he’s playing that I need him to play is extremely unique. It was never in government before… of combining all of my law enforcement efforts together across the city and how he’s carrying that out. And when he sends his driver to the scene to find out what’s going on ahead of time, a civilian would not be able to carry out that same function, would not be able to get inside that crime scene, would not be able to get on the ground, would not be able to carry out the same function.
There’s a uniqueness to law enforcement that if you’ve never been in it, you won’t really understand it. And if you send a civilian to a scene of an emergency, a major fire, a crime, a shooting, a possible bomb, I have to get that information right away. And a deputy mayor of public safety must get it right away and a civilian is not going to be able to penetrate those things the way a law enforcement person could do. So this is a unique role that he’s doing and it’s a smart way that we sat down and stated how he’s going to do it, and I’m very pleased on what he’s doing.
Question: Did the Intelligence Bureau give the go-ahead on that? (Inaudible.)
Mayor Adams: I am the intelligence bureau. I decide what I need in my agencies to get the job done. I sit down with all of my agencies and make a determination what tools we need. Everyone falls under the team concept. And if you would speak to intel, intel would tell you that we advise the mayor, but the mayor makes a determination on what we are going to do to properly keep this city safe. I’m obligated to do so, and I’m sure they will agree that having a well-trained police officer be on the front line of responding to these issues is a smart way to do it and it’s a unique way to do it. Thank you.